Troutman's employees keep spirit of giving
Every year, a group that tags itself the “Troutman Basement Retirees” makes a donation to Operation Santa Claus in the spirit of a department store that exemplified Christmas through animated window dressings, interior trees and decorations and a marquee with Santa Claus.
The group that once worked at the store in downtown Greensburg still meets once a week for lunch.
“There are only eight to 10 of us now; I don't know how much longer we can do this,” Joanne Fetter said. “There used to be 20 to 30 of us but most are deceased now. We have a kitty and each year we donate $50 (each) to Operation Santa Claus and the (Westmoreland County) Food Bank.”
Fetter worked for 18 years in the main office at Troutman's.
According to “Greensburg Downtown Historic District, A Walking Tour,” a book published in 1998 by the Westmoreland Trust, the store opened in 1923 in Greensburg. It closed in 1985 when Troutman's became Pomeroy's at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield.
“There's nothing there now to attract people into the city,” Fetter said. “When Troutman's was there, there used to be Murphy's across the street and eateries all over. Now there are just a lot of office buildings.”
Della Pushic, 90, who worked as a saleswoman at Troutman's for 30 years, said that Greensburg is not what it used to be. She said there used to be shops all over Main Street and now there's only a few on Pennsylvania Avenue and Second Street.
She remembers the Lilly Shop that sold curtains and draperies, Harvey's Restaurant, Isaly's and G.C. Murphy's 5 & 10.
“I loved talking to the people, meeting so many different people,” Pushic said of her Troutman's career.
The department store carried television sets and she still remembers people coming in on their lunch hour to watch their soap operas.
Michael Pardus, 76, who retired from the fourth floor of Troutman's after 35 years, said that employees all knew each other and they all knew the customers.
He and Pushic said there was a camaraderie among the Troutman's employees.
“Back then, people stayed. They didn't change jobs every six months, and as a result, you knew everybody,” said Pardus, who started as a drapery installer and then became a salesman and then a buyer for housewares, small appliances and gifts.
Before the malls, Troutman's and another downtown store, Royer's, were the places to shop.
Troutman's featured a restaurant and even a beauty salon.
For longtime customer Carol Stillwagon, Greensburg was a one-stop shopping destination.
“Now I think of it as the county seat. There are a lot of law firms, doctor's offices, and banks,” she said. “There are shops on Pennsylvania Avenue but no retail on Main Street.”
One of her favorite memories is a red-haired cashier who always wore black. She said she always looked forward to seeing the outfits and jewelry the woman was wearing because they were usually extravagant.
“It was a great store,” she said.
“I do miss it,” he said. “Not just the store, but the people too.”
Michele Stewardson is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport man ordered to trial in New Stanton hotel homicide
- Jeannette man arrested in city shooting
- Hole in North Huntingdon dance studio believed to be from car crash
- Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
- $200K grant will go toward demolition at Monsour Medical site
- Historic Irwin theater expected to reopen in August, board member says
- Hempfield joins county land bank
- Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
- Fairfield Township resident honored by Loyalhanna Watershed Association
- Police identify Acme man who died after crash
- Hempfield library programs at risk as funds dip